I went into work my first day at Works4U with an open mind and a positive attitude (mainly because I did not get lost on my way to work). I did not think my experiences would be different from my summer jobs in America. Boy, was I wrong. I was immediately surprised with the relaxed and easygoing attitude that my co-workers had towards their work. Instead of being shoved assignments as soon as I walked in the door, my supervisor made sure I was comfortable with everything by giving me small tasks that allowed me to grow acquainted with the work I would be doing. My supervisor’s approachable attitude made it easy for me to ask questions about my work. I would sometimes feel nervous or embarrassed to ask questions at my American jobs, but I never felt that way at Works4U.
It was interesting to compare my workplace with what I read in Kate Fox’s Watching the English. The “muddle rules” and “importance of not being earnest” were prevalent in my workplace. If I ever wanted to stay late to finish an assignment, my supervisor would say I was working too hard and that it would be there when I returned. I also was allowed to work from home a few times, which I have never done before. It was great I was entrusted to do this, but I found it was a lot easier to focus in an office environment then from my apartment. A lot of my co-workers would ask if everything was okay if I ever looked too serious. At first it was a bit annoying I was just trying to concentrate, but it was nice that they wanted me to have fun while I worked. My supervisor would often jokingly complain about her work, but I always knew that she cared about it and that she took pride in what she accomplished. Although it took me a few weeks to understand the Brits’ approach to their work, once I did I appreciated it. I wish more American workplaces would have a more relaxed attitude towards their work as it did make my experiences at Works4U enjoyable and stress-free.